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How We Can Make Life Better Now for People With Dementia

By Kim Warchol | Posted on 07.02.2013 | 4 comments
How We Can Make Life Better Now for People With Dementia
Recently, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an update to the 2012 National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease. The update includes a new timeline for preventing and treating Alzheimer's disease by 2025, as well as a review of the progress that has been made since the initial plan was released last May.

The update reports that the HHS has strengthened the ability of nursing home staff to provide high-quality person-centered care for people with Alzheimer’s disease through a series of training videos that was sent to every nursing home in the US.

I believe that this is a step in the right direction. But there's more we can do to make sure that people with Alzheimer's and their families get the care and support they need.

We must educate all health care workers on how to provide high-quality memory care. We must mandate abilities-focused, person-centered dementia care training in curriculums for nurses, therapists, doctors, social workers, nursing aides, and all care professionals. We must ensure that all staff have the skills to optimize the function, safety, and quality of life of those with dementia. This will help us see profound quality outcomes, great cost savings, and increased well-being for everyone—including people with dementia and the family members, friends, and professionals who care for them.
 
As researchers focus on finding a cure for Alzheimer's, it’s up to all of us to get the skills to make life better now for people with dementia. Are you ready to help us create a Dementia Capable Society? I welcome your partnership in our work to help the millions of individuals with dementia to experience the high quality of life that they deserve!
 
Resources 

Find out about how our Dementia Capable Care training can help you raise the standard for memory care.
 
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Comments
Kim Warchol
Thank you, Rina, for your great tips. I will add more tips that I have found very important, especially for those in the more advanced stages.

As we know a person with Alzheimer’s/dementia will experience challenges in their ability to stay focused and attend to an activity. Therefore, we must do everything possible to eliminate situations that will take their attention away from eating their meal.

Your first tip, “Choose a quiet, calm, reassuring mealtime atmosphere by limiting noise and other distractions” is directly related to this goal of enabling the person with Alzheimer’s/dementia to stay focused on eating their meal.

Three other tips to help the person stay focused on eating are:
1. Make certain the person is sitting securely in their chair meaning their feet are not dangling and they are not leaning uncomfortably to the side or back.

2. Be sure any bathroom needs have been addressed prior to eating or their attention, rightfully so, will be directed to the need to use the bathroom to move their bowels or urinate, and therefore they will likely eat less.

3. Be sure the food and their food plate are easy to see. To increase attention to the food on the plate make sure the food color contrasts with the plate color. To increase attention to their plate have the person seated at a square table or use place mats. Both help to define the person’s dining space and reduce likelihood of taking food or drink from dining partners.

Thank you again for taking the time to offer helpful tips with our community.
10/28/2013 12:44:28 PM
Rina Sant
" Sometime mealtimes can be challenging when a person experiences loss in taste, smell or appetite, has problems swallowing or is confused. here would like to share some tips for eating

Choose a quiet, calm, reassuring mealtime atmosphere by limiting noise and other distractions.
Be patient, avoid rushing, and be sensitive to confusion and anxiety.
Maintain familiar mealtime routines.
Offer foods that have familiar flavors, varied textures, and different colors.
Serve small portions or several small meals throughout the day.
Choose utensils that promote independence, such as a bowl instead of a plate, or spoons with large or built-up handles.
Use straws or cups with lids to make drinking easier.
As the disease progresses, be aware of the increased risk of choking due to chewing and swallowing problems.
Talk to your doctor about liquid nutritional supplements and other options.

Hope it will Help someone in need. Stay Healthy!"
10/28/2013 2:01:31 AM
Becky B
Thank you for your comment!
8/12/2013 11:31:07 AM
Epoch Elder Care
These are definitely ways through which we can make the lives of elderlies suffering from dementia better!!
8/7/2013 3:04:59 AM
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